“Memorial Ritual and Art: A Case Study and Exploration of the Potential for Healing”

Click here to read Cinder Hypki, Rhonda S. Cooper and Louise Knight’s paper examining the use of ritual in grieving and healing processes: The powerful symbolic and metaphorical nature of ritual is a compelling “medium” unto itself for community artists and cultural workers. “Performance artists” and artist-activists often use elements of ritual to engage and … Read more“Memorial Ritual and Art: A Case Study and Exploration of the Potential for Healing”

Recompose, the First Human-Composting Funeral Home in the U.S., is Now Open for Business

Click here to read Brendan Kiley’s article for the Seattle Times: As I’ve learned more about Recompose, I’ve found it to be a very graceful and beautiful way to go,” Bontrager said. “It’s the natural way, the way every living thing in history has eventually been cared for, from an apple core to a human … Read moreRecompose, the First Human-Composting Funeral Home in the U.S., is Now Open for Business

Midwinter Solstice and the Notion of Genius Loci

My Midwinter altar – I think “locus” is actually more apt in this context – is a literal illumination of the vanitas theme, a union of wunderkammer and kamidana (wunderkamidana?) It’s an assemblage of objects whose symbolic meanings are both amplified and made more subtle by their interrelationships. I try my clumsy best to make … Read moreMidwinter Solstice and the Notion of Genius Loci

The Memory Garden at Eternal Home Cemetery (Colma, CA)

Still a work in progress but nearing completion, the Memory Garden at the Eternal Home Cemetery in Colma, California is designed as a ritual and memorial space for families mourning pre-natal loss. As described here, the Garden will feature: (…) a grassy green slope dotted with wide-set benches. Downhill would lead to a clearing, where … Read moreThe Memory Garden at Eternal Home Cemetery (Colma, CA)

Quietus: State-Sponsored Suicide in “Children of Men” (2006)

Director Alfonso Cuaron’s post-Apocalyptic masterpiece Children of Men is set in a nightmarish future United Kingdom about eighteen years after the human fertility rate dropped to zero. As war and existential despair claim most parts of the world, the UK “soldiers on” via a near-totalitarian regime that offers its citizens the option of suicide via … Read moreQuietus: State-Sponsored Suicide in “Children of Men” (2006)

The New Monuments That America Needs

Hua Su’s recent article for The New Yorker surveys the controversy surrounding public memorial statuary in the USA: That a monument seems to, in Farber’s words, “stop time,” helps explain why so many are eager to defend them from overzealous protesters. We’ve seen pictures of police flanking the Wall Street bull and armed civilians standing guard in front … Read moreThe New Monuments That America Needs

“Death by Design” Podcast

Kimberly C. Paul’s Death By Design podcast showcases interviews with deathcare specialists, artists, authors and others working in the end-of-life sphere: REMEMBER, YOU’RE THE DESIGNER. We must become the designer of our own destination. We must learn how to build the pathways to our last chapter by creating the blueprints that reflect our individual lives … Read more“Death by Design” Podcast

The Flowerskull Mask: A Thanatopositive Art Project

By Tony Wolf I recently took part in the month-long online course Make Your Own Memento Mori: Befriending Death with Art, History and the Imagination, which was organized and taught by Morbid Anatomy founder Joanna Ebenstein. This course combines extensive and fascinating weekly readings and viewings, lectures, discussions, art and writing prompts and so-on, towards a “final project” of each … Read moreThe Flowerskull Mask: A Thanatopositive Art Project

“Today is a Wonderful Day to Die”

In this interview, Belgian theater practitioner and ritualist Barbara Raes discusses devising new rituals of mourning: I make these rituals as co-creations with artists. I feel that many artists have a certain sensitivity for our profoundly human need for consolation and empathy, and are more adept at connecting to a more spiritual context. Art can … Read more“Today is a Wonderful Day to Die”